Groups Call for End of Health Planning During Alzheimer’s Awareness Month / Community Service

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Amy Sherman, regional campaign and outreach manager for Compassion and Choices Illinois, said it is designed to empower people, so they can effectively communicate and advocate for the treatment they want.

She pointed out the instructions generated by the Dementia Values and Priorities toolkit can supplement an Advanced Directive, which names a health-care proxy, or someone who will make decisions for someone else’s care in the event they cannot.

Isenberg said he made it clear he did not want to prolong the dying process with dementia, and she added having those conversations took the weight off for both of them.

Daryl Isenberg is an Illinois resident whose mother went through a difficult end-of-life process with Alzheimer’s, and when her husband was later diagnosed, they documented his wishes for what level of care he would get at certain stages of the illness.

Story Highlights

  • The group Compassion and Choices has a “Dementia Values and Priorities” toolkit which lays out a step-by-step process for someone to map out their wishes for different stages of the disease.

  • “I think it’s a gift to yourself,” Sherman explained. “But it’s also a gift to your loved one who are going to be responsible for your well-being and for making difficult care decisions as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia progresses.”

“That became documented,” Isenberg remarked. “And in his case, he was able to go through several years with minimal amounts of treatment and had a pleasant experience with the last years of his life.”

Kelly Rice oversees an Aging Services Program in Illinois, and said she learned how important it is to have those conversations, especially when her father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

She recounted even though they carefully documented his wishes, it was a struggle to make sure they were respected in the health-care setting. But she added knowing what your loved one wants makes a big difference. “Once you have it kind of set, it also allows you to release that and then just be able to really focus on your relationship with that person and spending time with them, as opposed to kind of feeling anxious or having that unknown piece in the back of your mind,” Rice emphasized.

get more stories like this via email CONCORD, N.H. — With children ages 5-11 now approved to receive the Pfizer vaccine, groups in New Hampshire are working to get accurate information out to families.

Parents can now make appointments for their younger kids at pharmacies, schools and doctor’s offices. Mindi Messmer, founder of NH Science and Public Health and former representative serving on the Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee, said more and more kids have been seeing serious symptoms with the Delta variant.

Messmer noted there are gaps in New Hampshire’s vaccination data. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said it cannot accurately track Granite State vaccinations because of the state’s inability to track doses administered at pharmacies. She argued the state needs to get its data collection back on track, and provide the needed transparency, so communities can know they are protected.

She noted nearly 60% of New Hampshire families surveyed recently by Seacoast and Strafford County Public Health Networks said they plan to get their kids vaccinated. “A precautionary approach means having them wear masks and have them get vaccinated, so they can stay in school and learn, but be safe while they do that and protect our teachers, too,” Messmer contended.